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We've Got Issues: Family says GT county is negligent in jail suicide

This summer a man hanged himself to death in the Grand Traverse County jail. Officers found Alan Halloway dead in his cell in July. It took three hours for corrections officers to discover his body. Officers were supposed to check Halloway's cell every hour, but did not do so, according to a report by the Michigan Sheriffs Association.


It’s not the first suicide at the jail in recent years. There have been three deaths by suicide in the jail since 2000, including Halloway's. Since 2011, there have been 40 suicide attempts, with 8 of those happening after Halloway's in July. 

In 2014, a federal agency reported that jail cells in Grand Traverse County posed a hanging risk. Mark Goldman of the National Institute of Corrections told county commissioners that the jail was "the opposite of suicide resistant."

Following that report, the Grand Traverse County board of commissioners passed a resolution to form the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. The committee was tasked with collecting and analyzing data related to the county jail and criminal justice system and with developing a needs assessment and master plan. Members were appointed to the committee, but then it seems nothing happened.

Now, in a legal document, Halloway's family is saying the sheriff's office and county board are responsible for Halloway's death as a result of their "collective negligence."

Morgan Springer is a contributing editor and producer at Interlochen Public Radio. She previously worked for the New England News Collaborative as the host/producer of NEXT, the weekly show which aired on six public radio station in the region.